If you need your daily dose of nature but don’t have time to drive to the mountains, try a local park! There are several natural areas in Calgary that offer great views, a workout, and an escape from pavement. Here are some of our favorite family-friendly trails in northwest Calgary.
1. Waterfall Valley, Bowmont Park – A short, but sweet favorite with the younger set complete with stairs, boardwalk and a small waterfall. The view from the lookout is quite nice! See our trip writeup here.
- Distance: 1 km round trip to the falls with options to go further (there’s a large network of trails, but the slope uphill from the lookout is very steep and there is a large dropoff from the escarpment. Use caution.).
- Geocaching: Yes – one cache and one earthcache.
- Sports Stroller Friendly: No.
|Waterfall Valley Boardwalk|
|Waterfall Valley Lookout|
|View from the Lookout|
2. Douglas Fir Trail, Edworthy Park – This is one of our favorite urban hikes as you can walk through old growth forest (some trees are 500 years old!) and it’s feels like you’re far from town. The trail is shaded, but pretty (especially in fall!) and the lookout offers fantastic views of the river. Children will love the racing to the lookout!
- Distance: 2.2 km roundtrip from Angel’s Cafe in Edworthy Park (Bowness Road parking lot) to the lookout.
- The route: From Angel’s Cafe, cross the bridge and follow the paved path. When you cross the railway tracks, keep left on the paved path. The trailhead will be on your right hand side shortly. Take the trail to the lookout! (Note that the trail continues for a few kilometres but due to slope instability, travel beyond the lookout is not recommended until trail repairs are made.)
- Geocaching: Yes – various caches in Edworthy Park, and one earthcache.
- Sports Stroller friendly: The first 750 metres through Edworthy Park is stroller friendly, but the actual Douglas Fir Trail is not (narrow and has stairs).
|The trail has a microclimate that allows different plants to thrive.|
|Beautiful fall colors on the Douglas Fir Trail|
|View from the Lookout|
3. Nose Hill Park (14 St NW Parking Lot Entrance)
|Map by Google, Landmarks added by Karen Ung|
|Nose Hill Park Medicine Wheel|
|The pond in April|
|Plane watching from the big rocks|
|Cliffs & Boulders|
Parking: If heading south on 14 St NW, the 14 St entrance is on your right, just past North Haven Drive NW. Depending on your destination, you may turn in and park on the side of the road (just be sure not to block the gate or you might get towed!), or follow the road around to the official parking lot.
Geocaching: Yes, various.
Sports Stroller Friendly: Yes, but be prepared to start your walk with a big (up)hill!
What are your favorite urban hikes in Calgary?